Summer program to take year hiatus

By Shardae Smith

Columbia offers high school students who want to learn more about visual, communication and media arts a chance to earn college credits through the High School Summer Institute, which is open to students who have completed their sophomore, junior or senior year of high school.

But for the summer of 2011, the program will be put on hiatus to restructure its curriculum, according to a memorandum sent by Provost and Senior Vice President Steven Kapelke in late September.

Students who participate in HSSI can take classes worth two or three credits, ranging from computer classes to American Sign Language.

“We thought we needed to look at the curriculum,” said Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs. “It’s had the same curriculum for a number of years, so we thought it was time to take a look and make sure it meets the current needs of students.”

The five-week program allows high school students to participate in a college environment while taking courses taught by professors who teach

Columbia undergraduates.

Grades earned will become a part of the students’ permanent college record.

“It’s a program geared toward high school [students who] want to figure out if they want to go to an art school,” said Britnee Jackson, an assistant at the Undergraduate Admissions Office. “[The program] gives them a better idea of what major they might want to do and opens them up to opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had with[out] this program.”

Alessandra Incandela, sophomore broadcast television major, participated in the summer program before her senior year of high school and said she enrolled at Columbia because it was interactive and hands-on.

“You can’t learn everything from a book,” Incandela said. “You have to be there and experience it just as a professional would. That’s the part I loved so much about

[the HSSI].”

After summer 2011, the program will shorten its time frame from five weeks to three, according to Love.

She also said the college hopes to restructure the program to allow non-local students to participate. As for the last few years, housing has not been offered, and it has only been open to local commuting students. Incandela said small class sizes and teacher accessibility added to her experience in the summer program.

“I took what [I learned at the HSSI] and I’m able to apply my voice-over experience into my broadcast major,” Incandela said. “That’s the most important thing. What I was able to learn then, I can now incorporate into my work.”

In summer 2010 500 students were attracted the program, down from the 1,000 who attended in previous years, according to Jackson.

“I think Columbia wants to make sure the students have the best experience possible,” Jackson said. “The college wants to start from scratch.